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CYP72A enzymes catalyse 13-hydrolyzation of gibberellins

A Correction to this article was published on 03 October 2019

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Bioactive gibberellins (GAs or diterpenes) are essential hormones in land plants that control many aspects of plant growth and development. In flowering plants, 13-OH GAs (having low bioactivity—for example, GA1) and 13-H GAs (having high bioactivity—for example, GA4) frequently coexist in the same plant. However, the identity of the native Arabidopsis thaliana 13-hydroxylase GA and its physiological functions remain unknown. Here, we report that cytochrome P450 genes (CYP72A9 and its homologues) encode active GA 13-hydroxylases in Brassicaceae. Plants overexpressing CYP72A9 exhibited semi-dwarfism, which was caused by significant reduction in GA4 levels. Biochemical assays revealed that recombinant CYP72A9 protein catalysed the conversion of 13-H GAs to the corresponding 13-OH GAs. CYP72A9 was expressed predominantly in developing seeds in Arabidopsis. Freshly harvested seeds of cyp72a9 mutants germinated more quickly than the wild type, whereas stratification-treated seeds and seeds from long-term storage did not. The evolutionary origin of GA 13-oxidases from the CYP72A subfamily was also investigated and discussed here.

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Fig. 1: The GA biosynthesis pathway in Arabidopsis.
Fig. 2: Overexpression of CYP72A9 results in a dwarf phenotype and decreases endogenous GA4 levels.
Fig. 3: CYP72A9 is a GA 13-hydroxylase.
Fig. 4: Tissue-specific expression and subcellular localization of CYP72A9.
Fig. 5: Decreased primary seed dormancy of cyp72a9 mutants.
Fig. 6: Phylogenetic and biochemical analysis of CYP72A proteins from three Brassicaceae plants, rice, and soybean.
Fig. 7: Updated GA metabolism in developing seeds and silique of Arabidopsis.

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All data and materials generated during this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.

Change history

  • 03 October 2019

    An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.


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We thank X. Fu (Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences) for providing the ga1-t mutant seeds, Q. Xie (Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences) for providing the vector pCAMBIA 1300-pYAO-cas9 and J. Wu (Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences) for the GA standard. This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 31970315), the National Key Research and Development Projects (SQ2018YFA090071-03), the ‘Priority Research Program’ of the Chinese Academy of Science (grant no. ZDRW-ZS-2019-2), the State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics of China (SKLPG2016A-13) to G.W., the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 31770398) to J.C. and the US National Institutes of Health (grant no. GM109773) to R.J.P.

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Authors and Affiliations



G.W. designed the research. J.H. performed the majority of experiments. Q.C. and Y.M. generated the Arabidopsis transgenic plants and analysed their phenotypes. J.Y., X.W. and M.X. performed part of the biochemical assays of CYP72A members from soybean and rice. P.X. and J.C. measured the GAs in plants by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer. J.H. and G.W. analysed the data. R.J.P. and G.W. wrote the manuscript with input from all authors.

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Correspondence to Guodong Wang.

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Peer review information Nature Plants thanks Danièle Werck and the other, anonymous, reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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He, J., Chen, Q., Xin, P. et al. CYP72A enzymes catalyse 13-hydrolyzation of gibberellins. Nat. Plants 5, 1057–1065 (2019).

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